“I know that I love him but I wish he would listen to me.” “I want to be in this relationship but I need her to stop ____.” “I don’t know why my relationship feels off.” “Something just doesn’t feel right in my relationships.” Have you ever heard yourself asking these questions to yourself or a friend? Ever stayed up late wondering why you aren’t happier in your partnership? This blog is going to explore a few reasons why you may be feeling unsure about your relationship that may help shed some light on where to go from here.
The Reality: We All Feel Unsure About Relationships From Time To Time
If you’re feeling unsure about your relationship I want you to know that you aren’t alone. This is much more common than a lot of people realize and, to some degree, I believe that it’s healthy to re-evaluate our relationships with honesty as we grow over time. What served us when we were in our young twenties (shout out to those folks who got married as babies!) may no longer serve us in our later adulthood. This is why conversation and honesty is so critical in relationships. It allows the relationship to grow through life as we do.
So this list won’t be exhaustive but my hope is that it’ll serve as a place for you to begin exploring what is stirring in your heart and provide an avenue for you to communicate with your partner. This list will also focus on you, rather than your partner. When we experience conflict in relationship we tend to focus on the other person, rather than ourselves. I find it best to first focus on what we can change/give to ourselves and then keep in mind that every relationship is a dynamic with two active partners playing a role.
4 Reasons You May Be Feeling Unsure About Your Relationship:
You Aren’t Communicating Effectively.
Ok so before you get all upset with me, hear me out. Do you know what it is that you want out of your relationship? From there, have you set aside time to discuss this with your partner using “I” language. I know the whole “I” language thing can sound super annoying but it makes a big difference when communicating about issues that may be emotionally loaded.
The truth is that most people haven’t ever stopped to consider that maybe it’s how they are communicating rather than what they are communicating. You can even check in with your spouse on whether they are able to hear what you are communicating when you talk in such and such way (think wording, tone, volume etc). Or. Are there different things you can adjust to try and open up more direct and effective communication.
You Aren’t Receiving What You Need.
Needs are so tricky in relationships. I’m a big advocate that as an adult, you are responsible for meeting your needs. These include food, shelter, your mental health etc. Within my work I emphasize autonomy and personal responsibility. No one is coming to “save” you except you. This is both beautiful and daunting.
However, relationships do require that we feel safe, respected, valued, affirmed and so on, depending on your own personal desires. For example, I looooooove quality time with my partner. It makes me feel seen and valued and adored. If I didn’t receive that from my husband and he told me hey that isn’t something I can provide you with, I would have a choice to make. Is this relationship worth staying, despite me not receiving what I want and need to feel secure within this relationship and am I capable of keeping myself functional despite not receiving it.
A great place to get to know your interpersonal needs is to look at your relationships with yourself. How do you treat yourself? What do you value? This is the easiest way to get to know what you may be missing from your partnership. Here are a few quick examples that may or may not apply to you:
- Quality time
You Are Struggling To Trust Your Partner.
So maybe you are communicating what you want time and time again and it feels like you are having the same conversation with your partner over and over again. Maybe they’re like yeah, I can totally work on that, and then a week later you find yourself feeling the same frustration and conflict.
Over time this erodes trust within your relationship and is going to lead anyone to feel unsure about their relationship. If you or your partner are saying one thing but then not following through, it can lead you to feel like their words don’t really mean a whole lot.
Trust is such a critical component of any relationship but especially a partnership. If you are struggling to trust your partner it’s important to ask yourself why this is coming up. Are they behaving in a way that makes you feel unsure about your relationship or is it possible that you are projecting onto them (projecting is when we are struggling to see that we are having an issue and we see it in someone else instead, aka, if I am feeling guilty that I am thinking that something doesn’t feel right in my relationship I may accuse my partner of feeling that way instead)? The only way to flush this out is to communicate with your partner and get really honest with yourself.
You Are Feeling Unsure Of Yourself.
When we feel unsure of ourself we can behave in ways that invite others to affirm this confusion or lack of self-confidence. Have you ever considered whether or not you are feeling good in your skin and how this may effect your experience of your partnership? Here are some examples I commonly hear from clients from when they are struggling in their own skin and it’s effecting their relationships:
- “I don’t know how to let him/her/them love on me when I feel so unlovable.”
- “I don’t want to go out and spend time with them because I never want to leave the house.”
- “I don’t know what he/they/she sees in me.”
Any of these sound familiar?
Now I don’t believe in that whole “you have to love yourself to be loved by someone else” bs that I see on instagram from time to time. But I do believe that if you are struggling to feel comfortable in your skin/mind, this can have a tremendous impact on your relationship.
The best thing for when you notice this start to creep up is to communicate with your partner and work on your core issues. So not only the issue itself, but also, where did this come from? We will all struggle from time to time but we can actively work on these issues so that they don’t have as big of an impact on our life and relationships.
The Good News
The good news is that even if you are feeling unsure about your relationship right now, you don’t have to stay in that space. The beauty of relationships is that they are a journey and are always evolving. The most essential, well, one of the most essential components of a functional relationship is having each person be willing to work on the relationship. If you have this commitment then you’ve won over half the battle.
Even if the relationship you are in today ends tomorrow, you will have learned and taken away some beautiful lessons that will eventually inform your next relationship either with someone else or, most importantly, with yourself. It’s all about perspective and allowing ourselves to be where we’re at.
Should I Try Couples Therapy?
While I don’t believe you have to be in therapy to be working on your relationship, I do believe that couples therapy is a great catalyst for growth. It’s such a tricky question to answer, “should I try couples therapy?” or “how do I know if I need couples therapy?” because my answer is typically, if you’re thinking about it, then it’s for you.
A skilled couples therapist will be able to help you move more effectively through conflict that is showing up in your relationship than you will be able to on your own. And if you really want the most bang for your buck, I always recommend that each person is doing their own individual work (in fact I require it in order to do couples work with me) simultaneously while also doing couples work. We get out template for relationships from our caregivers/parents while growing up so there is always individual along with couples specific work to be done.
If this is resonating and you think you may be interested in learning more via individual therapy because you are feeling unsure about your relationship, feel free to reach out to me today for a free consultation.